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We could do better: Welcoming New Canyoneers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    someone said:

    "I feel like the welcoming to the canyoning world can be rough for beginners if they don't follow a certain set of footsteps that is, I don't know what the right word is, expected(?) of them when they begin the sport. I mean, there are certain skill training courses, and/or levels of canyon progression that those among us with lots of experience would like to see beginners do, and if those steps aren't followed quite closely then there are frowns and murmurs of discontent. Here in the west, where a lot of the canyon communities are tight, there is a certain innate and inadvertent pressure to join certain training courses, or to partake in meet up events, or to be a part of traditional yearly activities, and there is a stair step of canyons that many would like to see you complete in order before advancing along. And, if you don't follow that path or do those certain steps, there is some general ostracization from the community, whether people want to acknowledge it or not."

    "This is a failure to me on the communities part, because it is possible for people to build skill sets and learn and practice with others of more experience in their own private time, and it is possible for people to become proficient canyoners without having taking to take Course A and do Canyons X, Y, and Z first. Are taking the courses and doing certain benchmark canyons helpful for learning and advancing? YES! Are they the ONLY way to become a proficient canyoner? NO! And sometimes I think some of our more, ahem, rigid, members can struggle with people being outside of this box, and thus getting a somewhat less than ideal welcome."

    "EDIT: And the reason I feel this way is because I have dealt with some of this, even recently, and it frustrates me that some of my fellow canyoners can be so black and white about something that is quite multi-faceted."

    Ready... discuss!
  2. yetigonecrazy1

    yetigonecrazy1

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    This was me, and based on the replies I have seen so far, it seems the community thinks it is just fine doing what its doing and nobody seems to think there is room to be better, so I guess it is what it is.

    ....which is interesting, because the replies I did see in a lot of ways reinforced my points, and illustrated the problematic thinking regarding newcomers that I was trying to bring up. But if the community doesn't want to acknowledge this is an issue, and if the community can't even see the issue, (or doesn't want to see the issue) then I guess it isn't an issue......
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  3. Helo-ops

    Helo-ops

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    I agree.
    I recently took a canyoneering course and it reinforced my current techniques as well as giving me some new tools. Granted one does not need a formal class to learn and can learn from more experienced canyoneers. Does show initiative and as well as seiourseness to learn canyoneering.

    As far as canyon progression a new comer should work their way up. Speaking from personal experience. It is a little overwhelming when you rappel into 60 degree water fully clothed with 20 lbs of gear.

    But so far the old guard here on Canyon Collective and other forums has been awesome at sharing information.

    Looking forward to some up coming rondys or some invites after the pandemic.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  4. Dan H

    Dan H FNG

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    As a "new guy" I have turned to this forum several times with potentially stupid questions. I have received helpful responses and I am under the impression that if I asked to tag along with most any one on here I would be welcomed. I think you are all doing a great job. Maybe recommend that new "canyoneers" have some fun in walk through canyons before getting on rappel. I filled years with walk through canyons like little wild horse, dry forks, moonshine wash, and similar canyons before adding the rope to the equation. In the end that is where most of us probably started.
  5. Ram

    Ram

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    Some thoughts for what it is worth and some personal observations.....

    Thoughts......In other words. Opinions
    ~The amount of new canyoneers hugely outnumber those who have been around for awhile and the differential is increasing. Sort of like a country where half the population is under 20 years old.
    ~There is no centralized source for all things canyoneering in the US. Just like what is happening on the Internet with news, folks get their information and decide to participate where they do by what they stumble upon first or where they find comfort and alignment.
    ~Perhaps a handful of people have a larger amounts of influence, but no one exerts any real broad based influence over the community at large.

    Personal observations......
    ~Canyoneers are among the most generous and inclusive people I have ever met. If someone feels excluded, perhaps they have just not found the right doorbells to push.
    ~I have had countless folks ask to come on board. Offer to carry the ropes, carry my food, carry me for goodness sake.
    ~ I have had large amounts of folks, strangers, invite me on their trips or ask when I might have open dates to make that same offer.
    ~ I have friends, leaders in the community that have the same experiences
    ~ FreezeFest...I appreciate that not everyone has those days open or many are inherently disinclined to endure the absurdity that is that fest,. But my goodness....It is the springboard of 100's of partnerships and friendships, or so I think anyway. I am sure there are other events too
    ~There are only so many days out in a year and I end up every season feeling I have left out old friends, new friends, potential friends, especially now as I have ceded leadership on almost all the trips I go on.
    ~The people I meet are always full of back story and personal history that is fascinating. We are all full of surprises, interesting and worthy of inclusion.
  6. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    FWIW: I lurked in the shadows of this website for 5 years before first posting, eeking out all the information I could possible glean - and another year before I asked a technical question... so 6 years before having to ask, that's how much helpful info there is here.

    Everything was self taught. Was about 100 descents in before I did a canyon with someone with more experience than I / someone who wasn't taught by me. From this mental space is where my lack of sympathy comes.

    Granted, I know not everyone is naturally auto-didactic, and that I am fortunate in this regard.

    PS: Thanks to the CC veterans who ultimately became my canyon 'wall-dads' while I lurked the forums in silence. Several of you I've met here an there over the last 5 years... many more of you I hope to meet in the future. :)
    Kuenn, Dan H, Tom Collins and 2 others like this.
  7. yetigonecrazy1

    yetigonecrazy1

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    You all are missing what I am trying to say entirely. I am not calling out anyone in this group or in the community at large at all. I wish people would stop assuming that is what I am saying (I am not) and mis-reading my posts that way.

    Its incredibly frustrating because I'm trying to voice some valid thoughts I have about the community, and have had for a while, and not one person has actually taken the time to THINK about what I am saying, and acknowledge anything about it. Or even, "can you elaborate some more?" Instead, everyone is mis-reading my posts as "calling out the community" (its not) and quick-fire answering from the hip. Except, if people would take the time to consider my thoughts, the responses would be much different. But, rather than discuss, instead everyone is reacting and responding defensively for the community from the "bad guy that is calling the community", when that is just not what I am trying to do at all.

    Very frustrating. This is not a discussion. This is a "shoot down the bad man who says bad things". (When in reality YOU are assuming my post says something when it doesn't.)
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  8. yetigonecrazy1

    yetigonecrazy1

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    This is in some ways tied to some of my issues- look at how everyone is blindly responding to a perceived offense, rather than seeking clarification or better understanding......the members of this community are often inflexible in their thinking and can at times possess "know it all" attitudes, even when they are missing the mark.....THATS a way this community could do better! Or, at least be better in this conversation. Losing some respect for some of you over the way some of you have trigger-reflex responded to my thoughts with blind defense (to an attack that isn't there) and a lack of willingness to understand where I am coming from. This is starting to remind me of Bogley all over. "You can have any opinions you want, as long as they match up with the other members of the community, otherwise, get out."
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  9. yetigonecrazy1

    yetigonecrazy1

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    And Yellow Dart, its a bit silly because on one hand you are essentially backing one of my points- that newbies don't ALWAYS need to have their hands held every step of the way, as YOU are the perfect example with what you said about your 100 descents- but yet, you mis-read my other thoughts and issued a defense to an attack that wasn't there. Like.....LISTEN to what I am saying, not just blindly respond......and if you don't get it, ask for more elaboration, rather than doubling down. I still don't think you have a clue what the arguments I am trying to make are. You THINK you know, but based on your replies, you don't.


    This is what I mean when I say this is frustrating. How are we supposed to have a discussion when there is no willingness to understand what people mean?
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  10. Dan H

    Dan H FNG

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    So what are you trying to say? What is the argument? My interpretation of your point is that the "community" is exclusionary and should be better at accepting new people. Is that a fair interpretation?
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  11. yetigonecrazy1

    yetigonecrazy1

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    Not even remotely close.
  12. Dan H

    Dan H FNG

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    Well then what is it? Here is an opportunity for clarification and elaboration.
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  13. yetigonecrazy1

    yetigonecrazy1

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    Why bother? I've tried to articulate my posts three different times and everyone just hears what they want and assumes what they want. Everyone's butchered what I was trying to say three different times and has begun defending against an attack that isn't there. This isn't a discussion anymore, pointless for me to say anything further. Tables are already turned, opinions are already formed, defenses are already written. If no one has had the willingness to try and understand yet so far, why would it change now? No, just gonna throw in the towel and call this one a big fat L for me.
    Dan H likes this.
  14. Evan Christensen

    Evan Christensen Evan C

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    Yetigonecrazy1,
    Just go canyoneering!! Who cares about being welcomed by Canyoneering collective. The beta is out there, so do canyons that fit your abilities as noted in the descriptions. There is no A then B onto C. Route description websites usually give all the info you need plus more than you want. I started to do canyons 22 or so years ago. Two months ago I went to a free intro to canyoneering class held at REI to see what the ACA was all about The one thing I learned at that class is that the ACA and their classes, training, and leadership advancements are not for me.

    The things that I learn on Canyoneering Collective have made me a better canyoneer and steward of the canyons. Thanks CC.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
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  15. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Going back to the first post in this thread I'll address two of the points you bring up

    1. Pressure to get training, the only time I've told someone to get training is if they aren't interested/able to join an experienced group and want to get started on their own, and that seems to be the general consensus around here as well. This just makes sense for most people since the sport is unforgiving of mistakes and going off on your own is dangerous.

    2. As for canyon progression I can't speak for the rest of the community, but for me I don't care about the order or specific canyons, but depending on which canyons I'm headed to I ask about canyon resume to get an idea if they are a good fit for my destination and maybe take them in a test canyon first to make sure they know what they're up for.
    Ram, ratagonia and Dave Melton like this.
  16. Ram

    Ram

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    If we ALL are missing what you are trying to say.....could you rephrase it? I for one, would like to understand. I am sure others would too
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
  17. Dave Melton

    Dave Melton

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    I have never met Yellow Dart, but he seems like a pretty welcoming guy to me. On the Collective, I have seen posts where he offered to shuttle people he didn’t know, has offered to loan wet suits to people and I’m pretty sure I remember him offering his home to people he didn’t know. I’m not sure how much more welcoming he could be.
  18. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    1. I had a little formal training, but not for years after I started. It was useful, but not nearly as useful as informal training from just watching people who have done this a lot more than me. Like Tom Collins. Dude is out like 3 times as much as me and has balls that are about 3 times as large too.

    2. I don't think there is any need for canyon progression. I can take a reasonably fit person through a very technical canyon quite safely. What there is a need for is canyon leadership progression. The situation to avoid is being a newbie led by a newbie. That's the most dangerous thing in canyoneering. If there is a progression, it's to find more and more talented people to go out with until you become one of those people. It's not as hard as it looks. The really talented spend a lot of time canyoneering and are always looking for suckers, er I mean partners, to go out with them. I try to invite somebody new out with me each year. So far we've only lost one of them. (we found him eventually.)
  19. Ali Miller

    Ali Miller

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    As long as we're doing this...

    Anyone here remember how I wanted to start my canyon career solo? :rolleyes:

    Folks here talked me down, planned my trip, took me out, lent/gave me gear, trained me up, and then let me use their shower and crash on their couches afterwards. I was a total stranger with Ohio license plates.

    Hey, in my defense, I came through with the beer as promised. ;) I can't thank this community enough.
  20. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I had been a climber for 26 years before I started canyoneering. 2-3/4 trips up the Captain. (well, okay. 22 pitches out of 34 - more like 2/3). Most of the way up Denali. You know, a CLIMBER. Didn't need no stinkin' training.

    Then my friend Charly - also a pretty decent climber and, like me, within the Boulder social circle of many very talented climbers - (ask him about the first time he jugged a rope sometime) - took a canyoneering course and told me it was really good, I otta go take a course. Since I was a very-minor-celebrity at the time, the course was offered to me for free... and BOY, did I learn a TON!

    Jus' sayin'... If *I* can overcome my arrogance, then anybody can!

    Tom
    NM Ben, Kevin, Ram and 3 others like this.
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